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PRESIDENT SEARCH

The Army and Navy Academy Board of Trustees is honored to announce the appointment of Mark Desjardins, Ph.D as the next President of the Academy.

A Message from the Next President of Army and Navy Academy

Dear Warrior Community,

I am profoundly honored to lead and serve in the capacity as the next President of Army and Navy Academy.  The fierce loyalty and resolute dedication on the part of the faculty, staff and Board of Trustees to live out the mission to “educate, mentor, and develop good character and leadership in young men,” was driving force in my decision to accept this appointment.  It was clear from my conversations and interactions with the community that the Academy’s ethos and structure is intentionally designed around and tethered to the enduring values of integrity, grit, resiliency, honor, teamwork and selflessness.  Moreover, the Academy’s vision and purpose to intertwine a strong academic experience with a robust military program in the pursuit of molding and shaping young men of character is inspirational and resonates with me on both personal and professional levels.  Character matters! In a national educational context where attention to the particular needs and nature of how boys learn is mostly overlooked or often misunderstood, what the Academy offers today is bold, unique and essential. 

I would like to thank the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Barry Shreiar, members of  the Board of Trustees, the members of the Search Committee, especially Chair, Dennis Boyer, for their gracious hospitality and for conducting such a rigorous, comprehensive and thorough search even in the midst of a challenging and on-going pandemic. I also want to acknowledge my high praise and gratitude to Major General Bartell and his wife Karen. For the past seven years, they have been outstanding stewards and caretakers of the Academy’s mission. In particular, having led my own school community through the persistent obstacles that COVID has presented, Major General Bartell and the entire faculty and staff deserve special recognition for their tireless efforts at providing a yearlong on campus and in person learning experience. Maro and I were impressed with the Bartells’ deep commitment and steadfast dedication to the Warrior community and we both recognize that we have large shoes to fill.

Over the course of the upcoming transition, Maro and I eagerly look forward to partnering and engaging with the entire Warrior community in a thoughtful and deliberate manner as we seek to become better acquainted with the Academy’s rich history and wonderful traditions and rituals. At the conclusion of my eight-year tenure at Texas Military Institute, I was presented with a painting of General Douglass McArthur depicting his statue that presently overlooks the quad of the campus.  McArthur was a TMI alum (1897) and his early training there prepared him well for life, both at West Point and beyond. His portrait has watched over me in my school office for the past seventeen years and no doubt will find a most suitable resting place in Carlsbad in the coming months.  I am sure that General MacArthur would have wholeheartedly approved of Tomas A. Davis’s original intent and vision in 1910 when he poured his collective energies into opening Davis Academy. He certainly would have given an approving nod to the institution’s motto Pro Deo et Pro Patria and watched in admiration as Col. William C. Atkinson for fifty years expanded the vision and footprint of the Academy in such transformative ways. I am especially drawn to the history of the Academy and it’s one hundred and ten year legacy of forming and shaping the lives of so many men. I look forward to leaning in and working together as we set forth together to write the next chapter in the history of this illustrious institution.

Warrior Proud! Warrior Strong!

Mark Desjardins, PhD

Mark Desjardins, Ph.D

Mark Desjardins, Ph.D
Next President

SEarch Committee

Dennis Boyer ’63
Search Committee Chair &
Trustee

GEN(R) William W. Crouch ’59
Emeritus Trustee

Brad Larsen ’72
Trustee

Frank Monteleone
Treasurer of the Board

Barry Shreiar
Chairman of the Board

Radha Thompson
Trustee

Jeffrey Tisor ’85
Vice Chairman of the Board

CAPT Jack Wyatt ’63
Trustee & Past Chairman

Community Messages 

Letter from the Chairman of the Board - March 23rd

Dear Warrior Community,

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am pleased to announce Mark Desjardins, Ph.D, has accepted the position to be the next President of the Army and Navy Academy.

The task of finding a replacement of Major General Bartell was herculean.  The Board formed a Search Committee consisting of seven (7) members, including an Army Four-Star General, GEN(R) William Crouch, Army and Navy Class of ’59.  The Search Committee was chaired by Dennis Boyer Class of ’63.   Dennis is a retired search professional with over 30 years of experience. To say we were fortunate to have his wisdom and guidance would woefully understate his careful consideration here.

Very briefly, the process unfolded as follows:  The Committee started its work in August 2020 and immediately went to work in locating and interviewing a large pool of search firms settling on Wickenden Associates. The Search Committee was informed by internally crafted material; our association with the American Military Schools and Colleges in the US (AMSCUS); its Zoom and telephone interactions with candidates, both Heads of Schools and Flag Officers; Wickenden’s perspective and counsel; on-campus interviews; individual surveys; candidate feedback; and community feedback to MG Bartell.

Nothing about this process was short.  It was a labor intensive, highly collaborative, deep dive into the Board’s most important function – the choice of our Academy President. My highest appreciation to the Board and the Search Committee members, that spent over seven months in performing this function.

With this as your background, I introduce Mark Desjardins to you.  Mark has spent the past 11 years as the Head of School at St. John’s School in Houston; a highly successful private school that Mark grew both in size and stature.  His accomplishments there are too numerous to mention here but they include increasing the size of the campus and modernizing it; instituting one of the nation’s highly respected diversity programs for private schools; creating a workplace of choice and growing faculty enrichment and training; as well as raising community awareness and participation in the school of over 1400 students.

Mark, as the former head of the Texas Military Institute, is well versed in the operations of a well-run military school.  He understands the true value of an all-boys academic environment and the unique challenges boys face in education.  Furthermore, he is an advocate of the military training environment as a boy-friendly place for boys to thrive and the value that a 24/7 boarding environment brings to training virtuous men. Mark is thankful for his experience as a graduate of a boarding school.

Mark and his wife Maro, a former French teacher at private schools, have four adult children – 2 boys and 2 girls. Recently their youngest graduated from St. John’s School. They both craved the opportunity to work in a smaller school that matched their values.  The Army and Navy Academy opportunity came at the perfect time – for both of them and for our Academy.

Please welcome them to our family with all the kindness and kinship you showed MG Bartell and Karen during their tenure at the Academy. Your support will ensure Mark’s success and the successful future of our Academy for generations to come.

Warrior Proud! Warrior Strong!

Barry R. Shreiar
Chairman of the Board of Trustees
(Parent of Nick Shreiar ‘14)

Army and Navy Academy

Search Committee Update - January 20th

Dear Warrior Community,

Thank you for following the progress of our Search Committee and our work with Wickenden Associates to attract the next President of Army and Navy Academy.

To date somewhere north of 90 prospective candidates have been engaged in conversations about their interest in and potential fit with our School. Our universe of targeted candidates includes both educators and military leaders.

Wickenden has been able to identify educators with military history and flag officers with experience leading schools such as our Nation’s ROTC program. These efforts have led to our discussion of 14 candidates in a recent semi-finalist review. We have now selected seven very promising candidates who have agreed to explore our opportunity through Zoom interviews with the Search Committee.

It is anticipated that we will then move forward with two or three finalist candidates. Ultimately our school community will be able to interact with the finalist(s) and the Board of Trustees will select our next President.

We are right on schedule in our goal to announce our next President in the Spring, to bring that individual on board this Summer, and to celebrate the great legacy of MG Bartell before his retirement. Stay tuned in the weeks ahead as our search grows in excitement and promise.

Warrior Proud!

Dennis M. Boyer ’63
Search Committee Chair
Board of Trustees

Search Committee Update - November 24th

Dear Warrior Community,

We are well into the early stages of our search for a President. Wickenden Associates reports they are seeing strong interest in the position. Sources in the Academy Community and in the Independent School Community have been extremely helpful. Early conversations are occurring with highly qualified candidates. Some will emerge as a good mutual fit, some will not. All of this takes time, finesse and due diligence.

In addition, GOMO at the U.S. Army’s headquarters, the office that prepares flag
officers for retirement and transition to new careers, has been incredibly helpful to
our school. Thank you, GEN Crouch for opening this door and thank you, MG Bartell for helping to focus on a short list of targeted prospects among a list of 128 Generals. It appears that we will have 2-4 outstanding flag officer candidates, some with school leadership experience. Our search extends beyond just flag officers. We are committed to locating the very best candidate to shepherd our Academy into the future.

Our search is looking very positive and, while it is still early in the process, we are on schedule. Thank you everyone for your continued help, encouragement and patience.

Dennis M. Boyer ’63
Search Committee Chair
Board of Trustees

Search Committee Update - September 25th

Hello Warrior Family,

This page is intended to update our Warrior Community on the progress of our search for President. As you know, MG Bartell is completing his seventh and final year with Army and Navy Academy. We are sad for our School but happy for Art and Karen that they have recently decided to return next year to their home in Michigan, and be closer to kids and grandkids. MG Bartell will lead us through the 2020-2021 School Year.

We are also excited that the Academy has retained as our search partner, Wickenden Associates. Eric Peterson is our lead consultant assisted by Andy Watson. The Wickenden search team is well underway in interviewing various stakeholders – trustees, staff, faculty, parents, cadets, donors, etc. Those perspectives will help Wickenden to develop an Opportunity Statement in collaboration with the Search Committee, Board of Trustees and MG Bartell. We have provided a copy of that statement on this webpage. The search is expected to take several months. It will take some weeks for this opportunity to work its way into the marketplace; however, when appropriate we will publish search updates on this webpage. Stay tuned for updates on this very important project for the Army and Navy Academy.

Warrior Proud! Warrior Strong!

Dennis M. Boyer ’63
Search Committee Chair
Board of Trustees

Letter from the Chairman of the Board - August 27th

Dear Warrior Parents and Patrons,

Yesterday, Major General Bartell informed you that he was transitioning into his retirement year at our Academy. After 36 years in the military and over seven years with the Academy, they look forward to returning to their Michigan home, more travel and spending more time with their children and grandchildren. While your ANA Trustees are saddened about this transition, we could not be happier for them and we remain forever optimistic about the future of our school.

The Board of Trustees would like to provide you information regarding the process for finding our next president. We are extraordinarily fortunate to have Dennis Boyer (Class of 1963) as a Trustee. Dennis spent his professional career as a Senior Partner with two highly respected, international executive search firms and as Chairman of his own executive search firm. Dennis was also on the previous search committee that attracted MG Bartell to our School. Dennis is a careful and serious professional. He has volunteered to chair our Search Committee and immediately began the process of interviewing and creating a short list of qualified executive search firms.

The Search Committee reviewed five firms, evaluated proposals, and then proceeded with an in-depth interview of Wickenden Associates, an eminently qualified firm that specializes in Independent School clients. Their search experience is impressive as are their references. We have selected Wickenden and have begun the search process and we are fortunate to be working with Eric Peterson on this critically important assignment for Army and Navy Academy. Wickenden will soon begin with a series of internal interviews with trustees, faculty, staff, parents and other patrons to better understand us, tell our story, and describe the ideal candidate. They will move aggressively into the marketplace to develop a short list of qualified and interested candidates. This is a comprehensive and laborious process that takes many weeks to develop. Wickenden will also assist us throughout the entire search process and through a leadership transition period. Rest assured that, absent initial need for candidate confidentiality, this is a transparent process that will include the participation of our valued school community.

This process is arduous and a bit of a marathon, but we have a great executive search firm, a professional search team, a dedicated Search Committee, and an involved Board of Trustees that sets a high standard of excellence. We see this search as another opportunity to tell our great story in the marketplace, to attract an exciting new leader, to carry on the wonderful legacy of MG Bartell, and to lead our Academy into new opportunities. I will report to you periodically of our progress and as to events in which you may participate.

The Board would like to remind you that this is MG Bartell’s and Karen’s legacy year. That means we have the entire school year to celebrate them and their legacy at the Army and Navy Academy. We will miss them and we won’t be shy about reminding them how much they mean to us. No doubt, they will be the first to remind us – Once a Warrior, Always a Warrior.

The Board of Trustees is honored to have served with the Bartells and will honor their legacy by carefully and thoughtfully taking the next steps in securing the Academy’s future.

My Best,

Barry Shreiar
Chairman of the Board of Trustees
(Parent of Nick Shreiar ‘14)
Army and Navy Academy

Letter from MG Arthur Bartell - August 26th

Dear Warrior Families,

As we prepare to embark on this most unprecedented year at Army and Navy Academy, I want to convey how excited Karen and I and the entire Academy are about finally getting your young men back on campus.  The Academy is buzzing with activity as the Faculty, TACs and Staff prepare for their arrival. 

I also want to convey to you that this is a particularly poignant time for Karen and me. A few years ago, as I was negotiating my next contract, I informed the Board of Trustees that I would likely not pursue an extension on that two-year contract.  Recently, after much deliberate thought, consideration and reflection, I notified the Board of our decision to retire from Army and Navy Academy at the end of my current contract, the 2020-2021 School Year, as planned.  The seven plus years we will have been here are the most Karen and I have spent in one place in our married lives and they have been amazing!  But at this time in our lives, while we are still healthy and vital enough, we are looking forward to being able to spend more quality time with our children and grandchildren.

We love this Academy!  We have experienced the palpable passion for these young men from every constituency – it’s what drew us here in the first place.

I am proud of what our Team continues to accomplish – the planning, organizational culture and climate that have come together to produce our incredible product. The statement that our Cadets are our credentials has always been true, but today, I believe that more than ever and I am proud to be a part of that effort.

Army and Navy Academy changes young men’s lives – transforms them – and in a way, it has transformed us – we have a much deeper understanding and appreciation for the dedication and sacrifice it takes from the “village” to educate, mentor and develop good character and leadership in these young men and I believe Karen and I have contributed to that endeavor.

The Board of Trustees has a strong, well thought-out plan to search for and find the best individual to be the next President and rest assured, I will be there every step of the way.  I promise you we will not be taking our feet off the gas, we WILL “finish strong!!”

Please know that Karen and I remain Warrior Proud, Warrior Strong, and Warrior Grateful!!

Most Respectfully,

MG Arthur Bartell, US Army (Retired)
President
Army and Navy Academy

FAQs

Who is Wickenden Associates?

Wickenden Associates is deeply committed to the long-term interests of the schools they serve and have a deep appreciation for their extraordinary variety and unique characteristics. They are committed to serving schools well while maintaining a flexibility and openness that allows them to respond to the specific needs and challenges of schools and their leaders.

For more than 30 years, they have been refining their inclusive search process with an eye toward transparency and respect for both clients and candidates. Their work is rooted in and guided by these core values, which translate into better services and outcomes for their clients.

More information on Wickenden Associates, including bios for Eric and Andy, is available on their website here.

What is the timeline for the search?

The search team will solicit and screen candidates through the fall. If all goes well, our hope is that we will host finalist campus visits to our campus in or around February 2021 and will announce the appointment of our new President around the beginning of March 2021. We anticipate that our new President will assume their role in July 2021.

What is the role of the Search Committee in the search?

The Search Committee is charged with overseeing and managing the process of searching for a new Academy President. This includes: selecting the search firm; engaging with the Academy constituent groups to define the leadership qualities and experience desired in our next President; and managing an appropriately transparent, fair, and inclusive search process. The Search Committee will review candidate files, interview the most viable candidates, and identify 3 to 4 finalists who will visit our campus. After considering input from various constituents who meet the finalists, and conducting appropriate reference and background checks, the Search Committee will recommend a candidate for appointment by the Board of Trustees.

Will the search impact the 2020-2021 School Year?

It should not. All related information sessions, forums, and interviews will be built around faculty, staff, and Cadet schedules so as not to disrupt the academic calendar and school schedule.

Will the leadership transition impact the Academy's mission?

No. The Academy’s mission and core values are a defining and driving force in all that we do in serving our Cadets and in our initiatives for the future of our Academy. An important factor in evaluating the next President will be the degree to which the candidates understand and can support and promote our mission and core values.